Hours before comedian Dave Chappelle was to take the stage for a comedy performance in Minneapolis, the venue pulled the plug. Pressure from woke activists enraged by what some consider to be Chappelle’s transphobic humor pulled the curtain down on the performance.
First Avenue, the original venue for the comedy show, fell on its sword in apologizing to the outraged community. “We hear you and we are sorry…we know we let you down.” By scheduling an internationally famous comedian? The horror.
Further, the statement reiterated that First Avenue believes in “diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression.”
One Twitter user opined that First Avenue believes “in diverse voices. Just not diversity.” Others slammed the “totalitarian censorship and hatred of free expression” displayed by the venue.
Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council President and the first Black opening transgender woman elected to public office in the nation, had a message for the comedian.
Jenkins said Chappelle now faces the consequences for working to “criminalize, villainize, and traumatize” the trans community. This includes “gender non-conforming and gender-creative” Americans.
The comedian jumped into hot water last October with the release of his Netflix special “Closer.” Chapelle declared himself a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) and boldly stated that “gender is a fact.”
The comedian was to be honored in a ceremony earlier this month at his alma mater, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. The school was roundly criticized for its choice, and Chappelle in a 40-minute speech declined the honor.
In the video of his remarks released on Netflix titled “What’s in a Name?” Chappelle asked that the space be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
The embattled comedian talked of a Q&A he held at the school to meet with student critics of his performances. He recounted that gripes came fast and furious about “gender, and this and that and the other,” but not a word was said about his art.
Chappelle’s comedy show moved to another venue, Varsity Theater, which is also now the host for two other performances of his routine. The show went on, and apparently patrons of the original venue feel they won a victory. But Chappelle’s only sin is stating the obvious — albeit humorously.